I’m hoping you all had a wonderful Christmas, Save Jerseyans, and that you’re enjoying a few relaxing days to recover from it all.
If you are at home, but you can’t stand the din of Christmas toy, video games and screaming children for another several days, here’s a helpful suggestion:
Take your brood to see The Hobbit.
There’s been a lot of talk in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre about our American culture and its recent shortcomings. Not enough in my opinion, ’cause blaming guns for the world’s ills is much easier for the political and ignorant classes alike than tackling real root causes.
Rallying public support against the enemy you can actually see is always a simpler proposition, right? You always need to question the motives of someone who thinks like that, folks.
The culture is the key issue behind the Newtown shooter “mystery” that isn’t all too mysterious for most of us, and while I enjoy TV shows like Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones as much as the next guy, young Save Jerseyans need exposure to storylines where the good guys are truly “good” and the bad guys are unambiguously “evil.” That’s not to say the J.R.R. Tolkien universe isn’t full of complexities just like the real world. Some of the bad guys are redeemable; most of the good guys have personal flaws which they must overcome.
Still, throughout the whole of Middle Earth, morality is a relatively objective construct in Tolkien’s legendarium. Characters inject shades of grey into situations but the themes of bravery, friendship, honor, charity, compassion, freedom, and loyalty aren’t obscured by cheap gimmicks or preachy amorality for even the youngest audience members. Right is right, wrong is wrong, and each positive lesson is reinforced in an entertaining way capable of holding any child’s attention for 2+ hours.
That last part should make every parent happy.
Examples of quality storytelling like The Hobbit are sorely needed in today’s world. This nation needs less trolls on the nightly news, and more elves/wizards/dwarves hunting for dragon-guarded buried treasure. Then we might see fewer monsters in our schools.